What a year. I reflected on the year because I’m not sure how I ended up at the end of the year. It seems like January was just an hour ago, which is weird because every day seems to last three days.  

The last time I remember feeling like days lasted forever while the year seemed to race by was when I was a kid. I remember waiting for Christmas. The Christmas tree would go up. My elementary school would have us practice for the Christmas program. Each day seemed like an eternity, and Christmas seemed so far away. But, the year, well, the year was just fine.

I guess I’m waiting again. I guess me and the rest of the country are waiting. Each day feels like an eternity, while the year feels like a flash.

So, I decided to think about why I was thankful. I have much to be grateful for. I am grateful for my husband and our life together. I’m grateful that where I’m weak, he is strong. 

He has better survival instincts than I do. We had planned to spend Thanksgiving in a rented apartment on the beach. He didn’t think it was a good idea. I just canceled. He has excellent survival instincts.

That brought up the pain of the pandemic. This pandemic is going to last as long as it is going to last. My husband and I have spent the last eight months at home. We’ve done take-out food a couple of times. But, other than the grocery stores, we haven’t been out. No vacations to the beach or the desert or the mountains. No splurges on clothes we don’t need. No expensive restaurants – our absolute favorite. And no movies.

I’m pretty proud of us. We’ve done it. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves. Who we were before the pandemic and who we are today are different people. I think we’re better. 

Before the pandemic, we were pathological consumers. Before the pandemic, I was always busy with nonsense. I had no time because I wasted time doing nonsense things. And, everything had to be so wonderful. I had lost pleasure with the simple things in life. 

The pandemic has forced time on me. It’s been painful, but my expectation of life has been returning to “normal” where I can see and appreciate the simple things in life. I stopped my pathological spending. I spent time reaching even deeper into Chinese Medicine. I’ve stepped up my meditation. All this means self-discovery is on overdrive. The simple living experience and the pleasure of a chilly fall morning or a crisp winter day have been reawakened.   

I don’t think I would have ever gone this deep into the medicine or myself without the pandemic. And sure, now it feels like I accidentally stepped on a slide and am on a wild ride. Yet, the ride is impressive.

Do you know what else happened? The pandemic gave all of us permission to wear face masks and make it normal. When this is over, I’m wearing a face mask during flu season because the flu has become so virulent and difficult to overcome. 

We may have gained another positive from the pandemic. When you are feeling sick, you might feel justified in staying home. Remember how frustrated you would get that a co-worker came in snotting and coughing all over everything. Two days later, you would have the flu, and it lasted for eight weeks. 

People may be more willing to stay home. And with the advent of work-at-home, businesses may be more supportive of keeping the sick home.

In Australia, this year, with masks and social distancing, Australia’s flu season was a tenth of the 2019 season, and total deaths from the flu were 34.   

I have to thank my clients. Without them, I wouldn’t have a business. With them, they have made a problematic year survivable. So, thank you for being there for me. And I got to meet new clients this year who were terrific and filled with new stories and new lives. 

Most importantly, my husband and I have managed to keep ourselves and our friends safe. I’m incredibly grateful for that. 

What I’ve come to realize is this year is not a normal Thanksgiving. It is a significant season marked by thanks and grace. This is a year where I’ve been introduced to heroes every day. Every essential worker, the grocery worker, the food processor, healthcare worker, and the civil servants that worked so others can stay home and safe, I am grateful to you. This year has reawakened my midwestern values of family and community. And this year has made me aware that nothing can be taken for granted, and I’m so grateful my family is safe.

There is still a road ahead of us. From the past eight months, my husband and I know we can make the next six months.

My wish and prayer for you is that you can keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.